There is a serious branding problem among the key political parties in Britain at the moment.
Labour, with its promises to wipe out student debt and protect the triple lock on pensions, and its upper-middle class support base, can no longer claim to be the party of those who labour.
The Liberal Democrats are not remotely liberal, and have made it clear, with their constant calls for a second referendum, that they hate the democratic process.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, with their proposals to allow people to change their gender at will, without the need for a medical diagnosis, can no longer make any claim to be conservative.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not claiming that being conservative means refusing to recognise transgender issues. But there is a huge difference between recognising that a small minority of people do not identify with the biological gender to which they were born, and deciding to completely throw biology to the wind and pretend that gender is not, for the majority of people, a binary factor determined by chromosomal make-up.
There is also nothing conservative about ignoring the fact that the suicide rate among transgender people, post-surgery, is disproportionately high – an indication that changing gender does not resolve the deep-seated psychological issues with which many of these people are clearly struggling. Removing the need for people who are struggling with gender dysphoria, to seek professional medical advice, in the misguided belief that the issues they are experiencing will be resolved by simply allowing them to announce themselves to be a different gender, is not only irresponsible, but actually removes protections that are currently in place specifically aimed at identifying and trying to resolve the complex psychological issues that accompany feelings of gender dysphoria.
Moving on to UKIP – they can at least still claim to be the party which is most committed to UK Independence, and to bringing the United Kingdom out of the EU. But with Anne-Marie Waters seemingly the most popular choice of leader among the grassroots UKIP membership (if the powers-that-be allow her to stand) and with her manifesto focusing not only on Brexit but on the NHS, immigration, Islam, law and order, entrepreneurship and small business, it looks hopeful that UKIP will emerge as a strong opposition to keep the Conservatives in check. Maybe it’s time for a party name-change to reflect that they are focused on more than simply UK independence.
I have voted Conservative in the last three elections but, like many voters, have always found individual policies among other parties’ manifestos with which I have been in favour – and have always looked to the other main parties to keep the Conservatives honest. Sadly it seems the Conservatives, since their recent election humiliation, have simply decided to give up on their core values and get on board with any policy put forward by Labour that they think will be a vote-winner, in a desperate attempt to stay in power.
Labour, it seems, are no longer the official opposition, but the puppet-masters pulling the strings. What a sad state of affairs. Personally, I am very much hoping Anne-Marie Waters is allowed to stand for UKIP leadership, and that she wins – if anybody can bring British political debate back to the issues that the majority of people in this country actually care about, she can. And who knows? She may even give the Conservatives a good run for their money in the next general election – I certainly would like to see her try.